The film and video production industry is constantly changing and evolving to create new and exciting ways to produce fresh content. As a video production company every year we face a deluge of new equipment, gadgets (toys) and software that can help enhance the hundreds of videos we film and edit. It’s hard not to get carried away and get tempted into buying everything (or at least wanting to) so we always have a careful look at what’s available before committing to a purchase. Generally we’re looking at a few different criteria before deciding on what to buy.

Is it going to help improve our videos?
As cool and exciting as it might be to own all the latest gear if our clients aren’t going to see a difference in what we produce for them then we’re just wasting our money as well as theirs.

Are we actually going to use it?
This ties into the first one and sounds rather obvious but it’s easy to get tempted into buying a new piece of kit or software because you get excited about it’s potential uses. However, after 6 months will you still be using it or will it be collecting dust on your shelf and all you’re left with is regret and a massive bill. So we look at videos we’ve produced in the past and what projects we have coming up and decide whether the equipment would be of some use.

Future Proofing
Something that is especially important to consider when consider buying camera equipment is how long will I be able to use it for? When cameras can cost tens of thousands of pounds you might end up paying for them on credit which could take years. So in a few years time will we still be using the camera or will we have moved on? For example, as 4K and Ultra HD become more popular with YouTube now supporting large format video should we avoid buying a camera that only films in 1080p?

Are we better off hiring?
There are many advantages to owning your own gear as opposed to relying on hire companies for it – you get to learn absolutely everything about the equipment, it’s always there when you want it and if you’re constantly using it then it will probably end up cheaper. However, if it’s a specialist piece of gear that you will only use on one or two shoots a year then you might be better off hiring it.

Value for money
This really encompasses all of the points above. At the end of the day if I spend a big wad of cash on a new piece of kit then that equipment needs to offer a return on investment. Will it improve our video productions enough to help attract new clients? Can we hire it out to other companies? In the long run if I own it will I save money as I won’t need to hire it in? Is the cost of buying it going to be more of a hindrance than the benefit I get from owning it?

We consider all of these point before committing to a big purchase and although we have brought a few pieces that now feature as part of our museum of antiquities at least we didn’t plough all our money into 3D!

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